Nikki Appino is a multi-disciplinary theatre artist and filmmaker. As a director, writer, and producer, Appino has taken on subjects ranging from religion and sports to American history and pop culture. She has received numerous awards including the National Endowment for the Arts/TCG directing fellowship.
Nikki began her training as a writer and director at NYU’s Experimental Theater Wing. After graduation, Nikki moved to Seattle where she established her directing career at west coast theatres including The Empty Space, Portland Repertory Theatre, ACT, Berkeley Rep, Perseverance Theater, On The Boards, New City Theatre, and the Northwest New Works Festival.
In the early 90’s, Nikki won the National Endowment for the Arts directing fellowship and returned to New York City to work on Joanne Akaliatisís production of Henry IV Part One & Two at the Public Theater.
Appino returned to Seattle and founded the company House of Dames to develop and produce original theater and film works. She co-wrote and co-directed Subrosa with Kristen Newbom, and adapted and directed Dark Night of Souls and Lazarus. In the late 90’s, Nikki produced her first two films, the short works Threshold and Thibadeaux Sally, which played to festival audiences in Seattle, San Francisco, and New York City.
In 1998, House of Dames became a nonprofit organization producing one original work each year including, Invisible Ink, Before the Comet Comes, and the acclaimed Djinn, described as having “a power far beyond words” by American Theater Magazine. In 2000, House of Dames took over a decommissioned naval base and built a roller derby track from the ground up for Rain City Rollers, a musical based on the myth of Orpheus. Performed on roller skates, this highly acclaimed extravaganza had an extended run and played to sold-out crowds.
In 2003, acclaimed composer and singer-songwriter Robin Holcomb selected Appino to direct O, Say a Sunset, a multimedia stage show based on the life and letters of environmentalist Rachel Carson. The show traveled to five major US cities.
In 2004, Appino returned New York City and began working as a freelance producer for major media outlets on projects ranging from short docs to reality tv. She worked for Triple Threat Television as a supervising producer on dLifeTV for LifeMed Media and CNBC . Working under the noted executive producer Thom Beers, she was part of the producing team of Dead Tenants for Discovery/TLC.
The latest project, Club Diamond (created with Saori Tsukada) was part of the Sundance Theater-Makers Lab and the Sundance Lab at MassMoca and premiered at The Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theater in NYC, this past January.
Under the Appino Productions banner, Nikki has produced and directed several documentaries including — The American Rimpoche: A Tibetan Lama in the Twenty-first Century, about the coming of Tibetan Buddhism to the West, co-produced with Philip Glass and A Girl’s Gotta Ride, which follows the lives of women rodeo riders —she is also working on three new performance projects, Archivist, her next collaboration with Saori Tsukada, Sacred Charlatan about the life and death of Theos Bernard and Transcontinental a musical love story set in a 1934 roller derby competition.